Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Bird Flu Detector

PostedOctober 19, 2008

Randy Atkins:  The lunch-box size bird flu detector is still in development, but Georgia Tech bioengineer Jie Xu says it’ll be low-cost…and battery powered for easy use in the field.  Perhaps most importantly…

Jie Xu: We can get results in thirty minutes compared to the conventional method taking days.

Randy Atkins: Just take a nose swab from a bird, mix in a buffer solution, then pump that mixture through a glass specially-coated to grab certain bird flu virus particles.

Jie Xu: This binding will change the speed of light traveling inside that piece of glass.

Randy Atkins: Xu says that change can be measured, revealing both the type and amount of virus present.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103 point 5 F-M, WTOP Radio.


Researchers expect this bird flu detector to be ready in about two years.



  • A paper Xu and colleagues published on avian influenza ("bird flu") detection
  • The Centers for Disease Control bird flu page
  • A new mathematical technique to monitor the advance of bird blu